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By Christopher Kuner
Tension between different regulatory systems has long existed in certain areas (think of the disagreements between EU and US competition regulators regarding the aborted GE-Honeywell merger in the early 2000s). A similar power struggle is currently underway between different legal regimes regulating the collection, processing, and transfer of personal data (variously referred to in different legal systems as “data protection”, “data privacy”, or “information privacy” law), one that will shape the world in the 21st century.
Data protection law has traditionally been viewed as a dreary subject of interest only to a few specialists. But whether it involves filling out government forms, purchasing items on the web, communicating with friends and relatives online, or checking in for a flight, almost every activity we engage in nowadays involves the processing of personal data. The growing importance of data processing is reflected in the large number of countries (approximately 100) around the world that have enacted data protection laws, and the countries and international organisations (including the European Union, the OECD, and the United States) that are currently in the process of revising them to meet the challenges posed by globalisation and the rapid growth of the Internet.
Much personal data routinely flows across national borders, and the same data processing may result in the application of multiple laws. The ease with which data flows internationally also means that data privacy law has become a point of competition between different legal systems, with each one striving to achieve the seemingly impossible goal of simultaneously protecting the privacy of individuals, striking a balance between privacy and other important values (e.g., public security), and furthering economic growth.
This competition has been most pronounced between the European Union, which has recently asserted that other countries should follow the “gold standard” of its data protection legislation, and the United States, which believes that its system is even better. Such international regulatory spats illustrate that nations too often view the subject largely as a way to score political points, and that they have failed to grasp some basic facts about the processing of personal data:
- Protection of data privacy is not just a transatlantic issue. Data protection laws have been enacted all over the world, including by regional organizations (APEC, ECOWAS, and others) and dozens of nations in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
- It is also not just an online issue. Nearly every economic and social activity nowadays involves the processing of personal data, including the most basic ones. Too often regulatory attention focuses on the online “flavour of the month” (e.g., social networks, search engines, etc.), and fails to recognize that data processing has become embedded in every aspect of society.
- And it is not just an economic issue, but one that can help further important developmental goals as well. For example, the UN Secretary General has begun an initiative called “Global Pulse” involving projects such as the use of data analytics to better understand the global state of various infectious diseases, and using a centralized text messaging system to allow mobile phone users to report on people trapped under buildings following an earthquake, among others. Data protection law is currently not conceived to facilitate the large-scale use of data mining for purposes related to development, public health, and similar goals, but these uses will greatly increase in coming years, and will challenge our assumptions about the purposes and structure of regulation.
Part of the problem is that while data protection and privacy issues have global ramifications, the legal framework for them is still very much a matter of local or, at best, regional regulation. While some regional organizations (in particular the Council of Europe) are attempting to become more global, there are substantial differences in the way the subject is viewed in different countries and legal systems. In contrast to some other areas of the law, there is also a lack of legal instruments and institutions of a global scope covering privacy and data protection.
Legal regulation of data processing often stands in tension with economic pressures that encourage the processing and transfer of personal data, and political pressures that inhibit the development of coordinated and coherent regulation. States are only too happy to adopt legal requirements for the private sector that they are unwilling to comply with themselves (e.g., with regard to data processing for law enforcement purposes), and technology to process personal data advances faster than the law can keep up with.
From being considered a niche area, data protection law has evolved to the point that it is hard to find areas of human endeavour that it does not concern. The way that the struggles over data protection are resolved in the coming years will determine the kind of world we live in, and the kind of Internet we have.
Dr. Christopher Kuner is editor-in-chief of the journal International Data Privacy Law. He is author of European Data Protection Law: Corporate Compliance and Regulation, and the forthcoming book Transborder Data Flow Regulation and Data Privacy Law in which he elaborates some of the topics discussed here. Dr. Kuner is Senior Of Counsel at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Brussels, and an Honorary Fellow of the Centre for European Legal Studies, University of Cambridge.
Combining thoughtful, high level analysis with a practical approach, International Data Privacy Law has a global focus on all aspects of privacy and data protection, including data processing at a company level, international data transfers, civil liberties issues (e.g., government surveillance), technology issues relating to privacy, international security breaches, and conflicts between US privacy rules and European data protection law.
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Image credit: Laptop keyboard with fingerprint enlarged by magnifying glass – computer criminality concept. Image by Jirsak, iStockphoto.
The post The global data privacy power struggle appeared first on OUPblog.
Over the past few weeks there have been several news stories about the ways in which mobile device apps can, and do, infringe on the privacy of users. The news pretty much broke when it was discovered that the social app, Path, was copying user address books without notifying users of that. Since the Path news came to light, people have discovered that that app was, and is, not the only app copying user information without notice.
Read the articles linked above to become familiar with the issues and also take a look at this short slideshow, from Larry Magid of SafeKids.com, about ways to make sure your privacy is protected in the app world.
- Start talking with teens about the apps they use and how they can guarantee that when they use them their privacy is protected. Brainstorm ways that they can check-out how an app does and doesn’t use personal information. Perhaps setup a project in which teens do some research in order to find out what apps have the best privacy track record and which are lacking.
- Become familiar with apps. If you haven’t used apps on a smartphone or tablet make sure you spend some time doing just that. Ask friends, teens, or colleagues if you can take a look on their devices if you don’t have one yourself. The only way to really be informed is to have some first-hand experience. A great way to find out what apps are worth checking out is via the YALSA App of the Week column on this blog.
- Don’t assume that because of these breaches that all apps are bad and people should just stop using them. That’s not true, all apps aren’t bad. And, people aren’t just going to stop using them. Apps provide a great deal of useful tools and information to children, teens, and adults. We all just have to get really smart about what’s going on behind the scenes. In his New York Times article Nick Bilton gets to this point very well when he states, “The argument that if consumers care about their privacy they shouldn’t use these technologies is a cop-out. This technology is now completely woven into every part of society and business. We didn’t tell people who wanted safer cars simply not to drive. We made safer cars.”
Now is the time to gain the skills and
[Kindle image by Tim Spalding, thanks Tim!]
I went to a staff meeting on Friday at the local library where I sometimes work. We did some strategic planning, some walking around the building looking at stuff that could be improved, and some “how to download various digital media format” exercises. We use Overdrive via Listen Up Vermont which gives us access to audiobooks and ebooks in EPUB and Kindle formats. I’m pretty okay at this sort of thing so we clicked around and saw how stuff worked and had a few little glitches but basically stuff was okay. I’ve been following the Amazon book lending story through the blogs the past few weeks and I’ve been skeptical but more curious than anything. I don’t have a Kindle but I’ve seen how popular they are and I was curious how this would all work. Well, as some bloggers have pointed out, it sort of doesn’t. Or, rather, it seems to require compromises to our systems and more importantly to our professional values. I’m hoping these issues can be resolved, but honestly if we can’t lend with some modicum of patron privacy, we shouldn’t be lending.
This is all leading up to an email exchange I had with a reader who was wondering the best way to raise concerns with his librarian about the user experience of borrowing a Kindle book from his library to use with the Kindle app on a non-Kindle device. Apparently, while the process to obtain the book wasn’t too difficult, the process to actually get RID of the book once returned [without a lot of pesky "hey maybe you should BUY this" cajoling] was actually fairly difficult. The default settings are, not surprisingly, strongly urging that the patron purchase (not renewal, not some sort of overdue notification) the book that they have just “returned.” I’ll let the patron speak for himself on this process. His name is Dan Smith and this is reprinted with his express permission.
My first experience at “borrowing a Kindle book from the library” has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It did not feel like borrowing a book from a library. It felt like a salesperson had sold me a book with a “no-risk free home trial” and was pestering me to buy it at the end of the trial period.
I feel that Amazon’s commercial promotion is excessive, and imposes inappropriately on public library patrons. Would you allow distributor’s rep to stand in the hall, grabbing people on their way to the return slot, saying “Stop! Why RETURN it when you can BUY it instantly for just $12.95?”
Yes, some of the irritations can be sidestepped, and as a savvy user I now know how. But Amazon took advantage of my innocence.
FIrst, the book was all marked up! Dotted underlines here and there on almost every page. It was like taking out a library book and finding someone had gone over it with a highlighter! Amazon allow “library” ebooks to be marked and annotated. Instead of cleaning them up for the next patron, it leaves them in place, and encourages you make your own marks for other people to see. I thought this was just some misguided idea about social networking, but it’s more sinister than that.
I turns out that there is a global setting, “Popular Highlights,” which controls whether you see these marks. B
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My mum told me the other day that she found all this publicity about privacy, super-injunctions, and Twitter most confusing. So do I, because the way it is reported seems to bear little resemblance to the world I thought I worked in and knew. So in case anybody else out there is befuddled I thought I would have a go at clarifying things by providing a glossary. Here are some of the key terms, and some definitions. In some cases I have offered alternatives, to help understanding.
A bit of cross-referencing is necessary here, so I have used asterisks to mark out terms you will find explained elsewhere in the glossary.
Privacy law glossary
Apply to the court: (1) what a person has to do if they want to obtain an injunction* (2) what any person has a right to do if served with or notified of an injunction* with which they disagree, and want to challenge (3) an expensive and uncertain alternative to Contempt of Court no 2* (4) see Waste of time and money.
Appeal: (1) what any person can seek to do if a court makes an order that affects them with which they disagree (2) see Apply to the Court no 3 (3) see Apply to the Court no 4.
Contempt of court: (1) speech or act which defies an order of the court, or defeats or undermines its purpose (2) see Making a Mockery.*
Court of Appeal: (1) one of the Houses of Parliament (2) Twitter (3) place staffed by Judges* to which you can go to obtain a fair hearing and challenge an injunction you disagree with (4) see Apply to the court nos 3 and 4.
Democracy: system of government using. See Votes.*
Fair hearing: (1) a fundamental human right (2) what people go to a court to get, when asserting their rights (3) reading Twitter, not consulting the people affected, deciding unilaterally what is right or wrong, and announcing it to the world.
Freedom of expression: (1) unequivocally good thing in all possible circumstances, when exercised by the print media or online (2) one fundamental right which may come into conflict with another, namely privacy*, so that a delicate balance has to be struck.
Gagging order: bad thing; order of a Judge that prohibits something being said that ought to be made known.
Hemming: fearless campaigner for the freedom to use parliamentary privilege to name with impunity well-known people who have obtained injunctions* from Judges* to prevent disclosure of information in the public interest* (2) not.
Injunction: (1) court order which prohibits things being said or done which the court considers ought not to happen (2) gagging order* made by a Judge.*
Issuing: (1) what celebrities do with injunctions, apparently (2) the act of starting legal proceedings, preliminary to asking a court to rule on a claim.
Judge: (1) person who makes it up as they go along, treats freedom of speech with contempt (2) fantasist with delusions of omnipotence (see also Unelected*) (3) individual appointed by the state to decide disputes about legal rights after a fair hearing.*
King Canute: see Judge no 2*. See also next section.
Making a mockery: (1) an exercise of freedom of speech* on Twitter or otherwise which involves deliberately disobeying a court order, undermining its effect, and so demonstrating Judges to be King Canute* (2) see Contempt of Court.*
Parliamentary privilege: fundamental right of any MP to do with impunity an act which would be a contempt of court*.
Privacy rights: (1) bad thing; synonym for adulterous
The ACLU has made a useful post talking about the Department of Justice’s released statistics about their surveillance activities. Surveillance is up. Section 215 is sunsetting. Osama is dead. What now?
The government more than quadrupled its use of secret court subpoenas, known as 215 orders, which give the government access to “any tangible thing,” including a wide range of sensitive information such as financial records, medical records, and even library records. In 2010, the FBI made 96 applications, up from just 21 in 2009.
I was interested to read the Miss Manners column where someone complains about a rude librarian. I usally enjoy Miss Manners but was a little bummed to see her playing out old tired stereotypes, but I did enjoy the comments (yes, one of which is mine) telling her that librarianship is more complicated than she thinks.
Yesterday Twitter (and the web in general) was abuzz with news and reports related to technology, and in particular young people and technology. Was all the news worth paying attention to? Was all the news care-worthy? Here are some thoughts:
Care: Reputation Management and Social Media
The Pew Internet in American Life Project released a report about reputation management and social media. The focus of the report is on how people, of all ages, manage what others know about them through social network environments.
A key finding in the Pew study is that young adults – defined in this instance as 18 to 29 – are very likely to change their privacy settings within social media environments. This age group, more than older users of social media, do know the impact that the information they make available online has on their reputation. While this doesn’t mean that we as librarians and educators don’t need to educate young people about privacy implications of what they post online, it does suggest that conversations with teens about online privacy need to be framed not around “you need to be private” with an assumption that young people don’t know that already, but instead focus on, “here’s how to be private” with an understanding that making decisions about and knowing how to use privacy settings in social networks affectively might be difficult.
The implications section of the Pew report includes this text:
“Young adults, perhaps out of necessity, are much more active curators of their online identities when compared with older adults. When they change privacy settings, delete tags and comments, and request that information about them be removed, they are demonstrating a desire to exert control over the content they share and the tide of information that others post about them online. However, certain privacy controls on social media sites have become increasingly difficult to navigate. These changes, instituted after the data for this report was gathered, raise questions about the efficacy of users’ current efforts to restrict access to the information posted to their profiles.”
And that leads me to
Care: Facebook Updates Privacy Settings – Again
For the past several weeks, Facebook has been in the news as the result of new services added to the social network. The new services are supposed to give users a better experience, however the launch of these services once again complicated the privacy settings on Facebook, they were pretty complicated already, and caused many to question what Facebook was up to.
Because of the dissatisfaction of users with the privacy implications of the most recent Facebook update, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of the company, announced yesterday that the privacy settings on the site would be simplified.
By: Anastasia Goodstein,
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In reviewing the youth marketing landscape over the past week, any debate over the rise of social networking ended as Facebook exceeded half a billion users. Within the month of August, the number of people on Facebook will be greater than the... Read the rest of this post
The biggest thing to hit the world of youth last week was the release of Places on Facebook, heralded as the mainstreaming of location sharing and instantly spawning a litany of Facebook Places privacy 'how-to' tutorials.
As reported in the WSJ,... Read the rest of this post
Today we're bringing you our monthly roundup of cool youth media and marketing events you or colleagues from your company may want to attend. If your company hosts an event relevant to the youth media or marketing space that you'd like Ypulse to... Read the rest of this post
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Last week, the organizers of the PivotCon conference generously offered Ypulse a press pass to their NYC brand marketing event. The two-day event focused on the emerging Millennial consumer and new frontiers of social media marketing and provided... Read the rest of this post
Privacy settings on Facebook are important and I cannot stress this enough. No matter whether it’s for games or work or marketing, setting your privacy right can avoid some embarrassing moments and data/identity theft.
Facebook by default sets all Privacy Settings to Public. i.e. viewable by everyone. That means, if you have never visited your Privacy Setting page and customised it, anyone and everyone in the world can see all your information. If you’re someone who has no data on Facebook then great, don’t worry about it! But, if you have personal data, you better get cracking on customising it.
So how do you set your privacy right?
- Click on the ‘Account’ tab on the right-top-corner of the page.
- Choose and click on ‘Privacy Settings’
- Choose Your Privacy Settings. Spend some time on this page checking through your information. It’ll definitely be worth your time.
Click on ‘Customise settings’ to control who views your posts or shares. If you have created ‘Lists’ for your friends, doing this would be easier. Read my article Creating Lists on Facebook for more on Lists.
- This page has three main sections – Things I share, Things others share, Contact Information. Click on the drop down next to each sub-section and select the ‘Custom’ option.
- In the pop-up that appears you can select who should see this type of data and who shouldn’t. You can also specify certain people by name or by list.
If you play games on Facebook, remember to add your ‘game list’ in the ‘Hide this from’ section for all sub-sections so your data is safe from gamers and strangers.
- Set-up your custom settings for all the sub-sections.
- Once you’re done. Click on the ‘Preview My Profile’ button (towards the top of the page) and check to see what information is visible and if you are comfortable with the world seeing that.
- It is a good idea to go through the settings for the following on your privacy page too -
Basic Directory Information
Applications and Websites
I read a discussion forum today about an author's struggle with privacy. We're not talking, "Hey I want to hide from my fans" but more of "Why are you showing up on my doorstep and how do you know where I live?".
For years we write. We query.We get rejected, defeated, and heartbroken because we haven't found an agent or publisher. We keep our eyes on the prize though. A gorgeous, solid, hardback book with a stunning, artistic cover and our name written in bold letters. Finally an author's Holy Grail has been achieved.
But now what? Hopefully, you'll sell the book, gather a few fans here and there. During this euphoric time in your life, the googling will start. People that love your work want to know more about YOU. So they search and with an overload of cyber information at their disposal, it should be easy to find out everything from your favorite meal to where your children go to school.
It's a scary, scary thought. Hell, it's scary even if your not famous. Stalking occurs for a variety of reasons and not just to famous people.
It's important to be savy now, before you get 'The Call' and before you're on the NYTimes bestseller list.
Some of the suggestions were:
*Have your personal information removed from spokeo.com
*Use a PO Box or have all fan mail come through your publisher
*Have an unlisted phone number
*Have multiple phone numbers. One for personal use and one you can give out and change easily if you need to.
*Have multiple e-mail addresss. One for personal relationships, another for fans, journalists, etc
*Don't post information or pictures of your children on the web
*Use a Facebook Fan Page rather than a personal page
*Have all your Facebook setting set to friends and family only
*Don't link to your family on Facebook and review your privacy settings or turn some information off like the city you live in
*Have home security
*When asked where you live for book jackets, press release, etc. give a vague geographic location or state like MidWest, Texas, New England
With all the info out there, it's important to protect our privacy and loved ones now and not wait until our name appears on a book cover.
In the last week, two blog posts that I've commented on have found themselves in The Guardian. One was Lucy Coats' trenchant post on ABBA about A Certain Person and his unpleasant brain injury comment. The other was independent bookseller Vanessa Robertson's equally trenchant piece about World Book Night. I’m interested in what happened to them and the appended comments and in what this means for all of us.
After Vanessa's WBN post, I'd left a comment, among many comments from other people, and mine was picked up by a journalist and quoted (well, half of it) in her subsequent Guardian piece. No other comment was quoted by name. In the Guardian, my quote was prefaced by the statement, "Author Nicola Morgan was among those happy to air objections..." This implied that I'd been asked by the journalist. Actually, she had tried to contact me but my phone was off while I was doing school talks and by the time I got her message it was too late: her deadline had passed. One might think that because I’d commented, I was de facto “happy”. Well, yes: I was happy to comment amongst all the other commenters but the small but important difference now was that my comment had appeared on another forum, in print, with another headline, and taken out of its original discussion. It had been, in effect, re-contextualised by someone else. I am not annoyed, because I utterly stand by what I said, and the journalist's piece was good. But it got me thinking.
In Lucy's post, one commenter's remark was also taken and used in the Guardian piece on that subject, and later, on ABBA, that commenter expressed a similar surprise to mine. I’m not criticising journalists, by the way. There may be an issue of asking permission but I’m not interested in that just now. Ditto any copyright issues to do with quoting from blogs.
So what am I saying? I am saying that the internet has changed something about conversation. Blogs, unless actually private and hidden, are public, and when we comment, although it might feel like a discussion where we're all in the room, we are putting our views out there in a very public way. We cannot then control where our comments will appear. And it's permanent. The internet doesn’t forget. The internet has blurred the once clear divide between the spoken word and the printed word. It's more permanent than either and possibly more powerful.
In a good old offline conversation, you know who is there, who is listening - unless you are being bugged - and you know it is unlikely your words will find themselves discussed in public elsewhere. You can make mistakes, change your mind, clarify what you mean if someone doesn't understand. No one can take your words out of context because all those in the discussion know the context. The discussion is also moderated by those in it. It is controlled and yet can be wild and free ranging. There is little at stake other than the opinions of those present.
In an online conversation, the new conversation, all that is different. There is much more at stake, much more that can go wrong, much less control. You don't know who's listening and you don't know what will happen to your words, except for one thing: they will remain.
We also need to realise that Facebook and Twitter conversations are now watched by journalists. You make comments on Facebook and those comments can be quoted or passed on to people outside your FB circle. I have heard of people having to "defriend" others because they are worried that those people, not being actual friends, may use their comments against them. And I worry about the unguarded comments that some people make on Facebook, because FB sometimes feels like a party, with a
I’ve been reading with interest the news stories lately about Epsilon. For those of you who don’t know Epsilon is a company that does marketing. Many companies give Epsilon customer lists and Epsilon uses that information to, say, email you about the latest Hilton Honors promotions. Except that there was a data breach and Epsilon lost up to 250 million email addresses
The reason I care about this at all is two reasons. One, there is a useful analog with libraries and how they handle their email lists of patrons. Obviously patron data is private and comes under whatever privacy laws a state has and whatever policies the library has. But is a library allowed to market to patrons? Or give these lists to peopl to market on the library’s behalf? This was the concern when the public library in Dixon California emailed patrons to let them know about ongoing library renovation plans and asked them to consider making donations. People who are not pleased with the library renovations, the Dixon Carnegie Library Preservation Society, is arguing that the librarian acted improperly when they gave patron email addresses to a consulting company without patron consent. Now let me just state I pretty well side with the library on this one, but it’s sure to be an increasingly contentious topic as libraries have more and more diffrent kinds of patron data to keep private.
And the second reson is just a cautionary tale. Many people with iphones are aware by now that the phone tracks where you go. I mean it has to in order to be a phone, but it stores this data in unencrypted form on both the phone and the synced compueter, forever. This means that anyone with access to a simple open source tool such as this one can make lovely maps like the one above. Good to know, and good to understand. As libraries move more towards mobile applications and mobile awareness generally, understanding how this sort of data works will be an important part of making sure we know how, when and why to keep it private.
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Jon Mills is a professor and dean emeritus in the Fredric G. Levin College of Law. Among his many roles, he served as former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and as the founding director of UF’s internationally recognized Center for Governmental Responsibility. He is author of many books, including his latest, Privacy: The Lost Right.
When you find yourself on a dark street in a dangerous area of your city, you probably keep a wary eye out for trouble. Conversely, when you sit in front of your computer screen with a cup of coffee in your home or office, you probably feel completely safe and secure. But wait. We are learning that cyberspace, like any community, has its own mean streets and they aren’t always clearly marked.
Cyberspace — whatever that is — has its own predators, spies, abusers and liars. Like the real world, the online world includes bad people and shady deals. We have recently learned that our government was probably illegally spying on many of us, despite its enormous power to spy on us legally. But as long as you trust the government at all levels, you should have no worries. And, what about all the information we gladly place on the internet about ourselves.
Let’s start with the government. Spying is a well-established function of government and has been for thousands of years. Sometimes it involves finding terrorists or criminals — we like it when that happens. But, there are other times when governmental power has been abused at the expense of its citizens. Remember Richard Nixon’s enemies lists that targeted journalists? How about McCarthyism when professors, actors and others were spied on and politically persecuted? We don’t like it when government bullies its citizens.
It’s interesting to note that government is much better equipped to spy today and has been given more authority to do it under policies such as the PATRIOT Act. Over the past eight or so years, under the very real threat of terrorism, Congress has authorized unprecedented intrusions into the privacy of American citizens, including warrantless searches, secret courts and immunity to companies that provide our confidential information to the government.
Technology has made privacy intrusions much easier to accomplish and more difficult to detect. The lists that required so much time to develop in the Nixon and McCarthy eras are now compiled by a good search engine quickly and without notice. Who subscribes to socialist magazines? Who contributed to liberal causes? Who attends meetings of the ACLU? This information is instantly available. Today’s spies are software geeks, not guys in dark shades.
Beyond government spies, some of the greatest privacy violations are facilitated by voluntary disclosures. The recent controversy about Facebook’s treatment of information as theirs is important, but the information willingly shared with others has a substantial potential for damage as well. In a Facebook environment when an individual shares information, even with a limited group, what expectation of privacy is there really? What if that shared information is forwarded to others? Realistically, once information is shared on the Internet, it’s no longer private, like it or not. Your information, once you put it out there, may be forwarded to others who may not be as discreet with it as you would want. When a prospective employer slides a MySpace or Facebook picture across the desk to you, you may not have known it was available or that it had even been taken. In addition to shared information getting away from the user, many Facebook users don’t set their profiles to private, leaving them open to viewing by anyone, friend or foe. And, there are websites devoted to digging up information from social websites. Spokeo.com says it “will find every little thing your friend (or enemy, as the case may be) has said, done and posted on the internet. Nothing is secret…”. We are also subject to instant searches of all public information related to each of us. Zabasearch is committed to making that information available. Zaba CEO Nick Matzorkis says public information online is “a 21st century reality with or without ZabaSearch.” The amount of individual information publicly available is staggering.
We need to be aware of that reality and not think of cyberspace as a pure and wonderful new world. Because when we’re online, we’re wandering a neighborhood that has predators, spies, abusers and liars We need to keep our eyes open for trouble, even when we’re having coffee in our living room while surfing the net.
Are all our lives lived on the net, like some science fiction author’s view of the future?
How much is too much?
Reality shows vs good old fashioned privacy?
How much should we reveal about ourselves?
What is publicity and what is invasion?
How safe is it?
I will admit to being a complete novice but as much as I can appreciate the delights of social networking, it seems like a lot of fun, but I feel that there is an issue with privacy or the lack thereof.
I have had a website for quite a number of years and I am constantly thinking about how I can upgrade it or use it better to help publicise my books and myself to my readers or potential future readers. But can I have a public and a private face? I hope so.
Do I really want casual visitors who may have heard of me or my books, getting to know who my personal friends and family are. Finding out personal information about their lives and mine, and even my children’s lives? Suddenly the protective mother in me rears up at the thought.
The younger generation growing up with these sites seem to find no problem with sharing every little detail about their lives with not only their friends but also the friends of friends of friends. So if, as has been said, we are never more than 5 places removed from anyone on the planet, this means literally EVERYBODY!
Am I being paranoid or are they being naive?
We are often being told to be wary of giving away too much personal information because of identity theft, but surely these sites make people careless about what information they share and who they share it with.
There is the lonely person who just wants to be popular and agrees to be ‘friends’ with anyone who asks. There are the friends or lovers that have turned against each other, posting damaging material, under the guise of truth.
Okay, so I make up stories for a living but, hey, there are so many possibilities for horror stories in this alone and unfortunately you only have to listen to the news to see that not all of them are fiction.
There’s a quotation that I like that we bat around in activist circles a lot “Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” attributed to Margaret Mead. I like to apply this to some of my library struggles, saying that if I don’t point out things that I think are going wrong, who will? And that if I do make noise about things, maybe they will change. We’ve seen an example of this playing out over the past year with OCLCs new proposed policy and the pushback it received — starting small but gaining momentum — to the point where the general push of the old-new policy (OCLC retaining restrictive rights to records created by others) is off the table according to this post on LibraryThing. Good. Nice job team.
I have less of an opinion on OCLC entering the OPAC market because none of my libraries can afford them, still. I do believe that more sharing is a good thing, data monopolies are a bad thing, and murky policies that consolidate power anywhere other than “with the people” isn’t really solving a problem for libraries in general.
It’s time now for the library world to step back and consider what, if anything, they want to do about restricting library data in a fast-moving, digital world. Some, including some who’ve deplored OCLC’s process and the policy, want restrictions on how library data is distributed and used. Once monopoly and rapid, coerced adoption are off the table, that’s a debate worth having, and one with arguments on both sides.
Posted on 7/25/2009
You go to the hospital, lets say the emergency room they have you laying on a narrow bed, your barely dressed and afraid to move; and people are coming in and out like it is the local supermarket. You have the right for privacy and you should demand it.
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The worst is when they are not too sure why your have hives and a fever, they seem to bring in several medical students and now they are discussing your situation. WHY!
After they leave the curtained area, you ask the person with you, or the nurse why is it necessary that so many people have to come parading around you. If told that this is a teaching hospital, inform them that you don’t recall signing anything that said you could be put on display. You want to be diagnosed, cured and sent home!
How about the pregnant woman, who goes into labor and constantly being checked on, by a different person every hour; or they look in through the little square glass window. Where is your right to privacy? The longer your labor the more faces you will see.
So the next time you find yourself staying in a hospital, let them know how you feel; it is your right to have privacy. It does not matter if you’re in the Emergency Room, Recovery Room, or you have been admitted and people just wonder in and out. If after speaking the staff, ask for a supervisor; and voice how you feel.
Some people are afraid to complain, but you should not; others will wait until they are home to complain, as not to be treated rudely during your stay. If it is your intention to file a complaint after you are discharged, make sure you take down names, along with the date and shift that they worked.
Service is very important, and if your feel that your personal privacy was invaded; you have the right to let the Board of Directors and supervisor know!
Posted on 8/15/2009
The ten things I hate about our world the way it is today, often interact with each other. There are:
1) Corrupt political systems
2) Corrupt Criminal Justice System
3) Corporate Corruption
7) Abuses of all kinds, people and animals
8) government waste and oppression
9) Political Correctness
Our political leaders are responsible for many ills of our world. They are the ones who are elected to oversee our welbeing, and ironically it is their own welbeing that they end up overseeing. The addiction to power, wealth and control, rots their common sense, and concern for those who look up to them. They get submerged into self concern and greed. They quickly forget the purpose of their authority as soon as they are given the freedom to rule.
Corporate big wigs work together with politicians in schemes that will reap them fortunes at the expense of those they are in charge of overseeing. All this self interest leads into a chain reaction of all the other things. Political power is what steers every facet of society. Nothing can be done without government being involved in some way.
There is no such thing as privacy or freedom anymore. The evils of governments the world over have managed to destroy the world, by allowing corporations to manipulate and pollute at will, for their own benefit. Our social security numbers are used to track our every move. We can not get utilities turned on without giving our social security numbers. We now can not even stay at a hotel, rent a car or make a phone call on a public phone without having a credit or bank card.
All these agencies and companies sell our personal information to each other, If we move to another State and get a new phone number, all these people phone us before we even unpack. We are all being SPIED on, all the time. Our personal information is spread across the computer for the world to find. If a hit man were looking for us, they would have no trouble finding us.
Everyone wants a credit or bank card instead of cash. That way they have access to your bank funds, and they legally commit fraud by taking out more then you allow them to, and they get away with it. The banks are in it with them. If you tell a store, or car rental etc. not to take out more than a certain amount for whatever, because you know that you will bounce checks and be in a mess if they do, they agree to not do it, then they do it anyway.
They invent charges that they did not tell you about, and simply get them out your account. When your checks begin to bounce and you, try to talk to the bank, they only say that “YOU gave the company your account number or bank card, and they have nothing to do with it.” The bank rips you off with high over drawn fees, and the people who demand the cards, take what they want and never get punished for it. We are cohurst into becoming victims, and we can’t do anything about it. But let us steal like that from them, and we go straight to prison for years.
Many employers are now getting in on this band wagon. They require direct deposit in order to pay you your wages. We do not have the freedom for ourselves, to decide if we want to pay cash to avoid all the rip off schemes that are being used, by way of credit and bank cards.
Landlords are also culprits of greed. They charge a non refundable fee to fill our an application to rent an apartment. If ten people fill out the application and they find reason to deny them, they keep all that free money for themselves. They charge between $20.00 to $50.00, and sometimes even more for this rip off game.
Landlords now require tenants to sign a lease that is usually for a year. This is holding the tenant HOSTAGE to the lease, so the landlord can be guaranteed rent money for a year, whether the tenants wants to stay there that long or not. If the tenant moves out they break the lease, and the landlord can garnish their pay check to get the rest of the rent money for the remainder of the lease.
That is not enough greed on the part of the landlord. They also require a large deposit, and the first and last months rent, before the tenant can even move in. If you want your beloved pet to move in with you, they can refuse that you have a pet, or they charge you an outrageous deposit, and an added amount on your rent, to keep a pet. A poor person can not afford all these fees and rip offs.
Landlords have all sorts of loop holes to do as they please. They can make up things to evict you, and it’s your word against the landlords, and the courts always side for the landlord. Once you are evicted, you are placed on a black list so that other landlords can charge you higher rent for being on the list,and slumlords become like vultures who come to the rescue of those on the list, allowing them to move into their deplorable housing as if you are a criminal, and they are giving you a break. Then they charge the same rents as the decent apartments go for.
Landlords keep your deposit, claiming all sorts of damages that were not your fault. The courts also side for landlords if you dare to take them to court to get your deposit back. Judges don’t even want to hear witnesses or look at pictures that you may provide to defend your side. They don’t care. Landlords are Slave master to Tenant Slaves. Then they wonder why former tenants come back to break out windows and destroy the place.
Everyone is trying to ride the gravy train on the backs of those who are just trying to do their best to survive. Deceitfulness and greed has spread like a cancer everywhere. Poverty and homelessness has become epidemic. It has become a dog eat dog world, and the strong survive. The root of all evil has taken over with the “love” of money.
Poverty is the result of those who commit evil. Poverty is created because of GREED. Those who have financial security resent sharing with those who struggle to survive. There is no fairness or justice for the poor. Instead of seeking ways to repair the damage man has done on this earth, the wealthy in politics waste billions to fight useless wars, and explore space. They do not even appreciate the beautiful earth we have right here. They want to go and find another planet that they can destroy, like they are doing to this one. Those are the things I hate about this world.
By: Jessamyn West,
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As per usual I’ve returned from holiday travelling with a lot of cool links to share and the admission that I’m behind on my blog reading — and this is me who is never behind, this is all deeply distressing to me — and I bet you are too. Anyhow, some things I’ve enjoyed reading over the past few days. I’m putting a Computers in Libraries column to bed today and it’s talking about widgets. I like talking about widgets.
- Phone box becomes mini-library – small community in Somerset turns old phone box into a lending library/free box for books.
- Portsmouth (NH) public library is having a documentary showing of DIY Nation + artist get together this weekend which looks like fun and a nifty type of program to boot. Plus I sort of stupidly like that they can link right to the book in their catalog. It’s 2009, how many of us can do that yet?
- One line update/coda to the Des Moines photography situation from the DMPL marketing manager “At this month’s meeting, our board voted to remove the requirement that permission be granted for photos to be taken in our library.” Woo!
- Curious to know what’s going to happen at the Hayward (CA) libraries when they go to a Netflix model for lending [pay up front, then no overdue fees]. Looking forward to seeing the crunched numbers at the end of this.
- In another neat model, ArchivesNext reports on the Amsterdam City Archives’ “you ask we scan” approach to digitization. There are some linked slideshows and further data. Interesting model.
In my post-baby-sleepless-yet-attempting-to-work daze, I've been waiting for a story to move me to post again on Ypulse. I guess I should thank Mark Zuckerberg, and the audaciousness of his statement about "The Age of Privacy" being over for... Read the rest of this post
Two book-related things today that have me all in a dither:
1. Amazon hasn't put the MacMillan titles back yet. There's a book I need for class and I need it next week. None of the local library systems I use carry it. I can't get to an independent until this weekend, when we're supposed to get 17
inches feet of snow, so even if they ARE open, I won't be able to get there. I could get to Barnes and Noble tomorrow night, but they don't have it at the store, so I had to order it from their website. And pay shipping. (I have Amazon Prime. I don't pay for shipping.) Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
2. I live within walking distance of a branch of my local library. Given that I spend all day every day at a different library in a different system, I usually don't browse. I usually just look up books that my work-system doesn't own or has a long wait for, and put them on hold in my home-system. I went to pick up a book after work today (Yes, I went from one library to another. I am that nerdy.) Now, they have all the hold books on shelves near the check out desk so you can just go over and find yours and bring it up to the desk. I know this is a hot new trend in libraries right now but...
I will probably STOP using the Arlington libraries because of this. It is such a HUGE breach of reader's privacy and given that I pretty much ONLY use them for hold books and I just can't agree to this system... bad bad bad. Yes, they shelve the books spine down, so it's harder to see what the books are, but that just makes it easier to see who has a book on hold and it's not that hard to flip through and see who's requesting what.
Personally, I'm not very private in my reading habits (which you know, as I blog about EVERYTHING I read right here) but the principle of the thing has me very shaken up and upset and pissed off.
I'm more annoyed at the Amazon/MacMillan thing because they're private businesses and while they're both being stupid, well, it's business and they can do that.
The library, however, is breaking the ALA's Code of Ethics:
We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
So, I will be writing a letter to the director of the system and seriously rethinking my library use (Because, I do spend all day at another system, so I'm a bit privileged here, I know.)
But here's the thing-- just two years ago, Arlington libraries had a PR flap about this very thing. And, unlike the branch in the article, these books had no covering, the only concession made to privacy was the books being shelved spine down, which may have not had anything to do with privacy at all-- it makes finding your name (and your neighbor's) much easier...
A couple of days ago a news story broke about a suburban Philadelphia school spying on students in their homes using the webcams on school-issued laptops. The story has gotten a lot of play, rightly so, and it looks like the FBI is going to investigate.
There’s no doubt it’s creepy if school officials can spy on students without the students, or the parents, knowing about it. As I’ve been thinking about this story over the past couple of days I’ve been thinking about how so many adults that I talk to are worried about teen privacy. These conversations always focus on making sure teens know how to be safe and smart about their online privacy. But, what do we do when it is the adults who are supposed to be teaching teens privacy skills, that abuse a teen’s privacy?
There’s no doubt it’s creepy if school officials chose to spy on students without letting parents or the teens know about the decision. Yet, if the officials had let the parents know that this was going to happen, would it have been right, even then to go forward with the spying? I’m always talking with teachers and librarians about how we have to show respect for teenagers and that one sign of that respect is trust. What kind of trust can we build with teens if adults in their world find it OK to spy on them, perhaps in their most private moments?
There’s no doubt it’s creepy if school officials chose to spy on students. What if instead of turning on the cameras remotely, parents and school officials actually talked with the teens in the community about what’s going on in their adolescent lives? Is it really so hard to do that? Is it really so scary to have a conversation with a teen (or group of teens)?
Imagine if you were a teen in this PA community and learned that the school issued laptop was possibly being used as a device to secretly watch you. What would you think about the adults in the community? How would you feel about your privacy? Who would you feel comfortable trusting?
Of course, I do have to say, that we don’t know the full story, yet. But, doesn’t it give you pause that school personnel have the capability to spy remotely?
As you think, check-out these articles on the same story:
This week is Choose Privacy Week. To celebrate I wanted to write a post about passwords.
First, how many of you use the same password for every site you log into? Do you have the same user name as well?
I know often times we hear IT and other computer professionals tell us to never use the same password, but in reality we are often over worked, and have more important things to do with our brain cells than memorize a bunch of silly passwords (like memorize a bunch of book titles) Right?
I used to feel the same way until I read a blog post about how easy it is to guess one’s password. Follow the link to see how easy your password is to hack, and then check back here for tips to make your password more secure.One of the simplest tricks I’ve heard it to establish a base password like “password” that you memorize, then add something for each site you visit. For example if you set up a password for Google you can use “passwordg”* or “googlepassword”* Making each password you set up unique, but still memorable. Since most websites require you to use a combination of letters and numbers you might consider including these elements in your password base. *Note Password is just an example and not a very good choice for a password base
Another tip is to use a passcard to create a truly random and secure password. This is ideal for create a password for secure information like your online banking profile, or library’s personal files. You generate a unique grid of random letters and digits on it can print this out to carry in your wallet. Select a pattern to use from the card as your password. This is more secure than just writing down the password, because hackers/snoops would still have about 10,000 password options to choose from the card, and they probably won’t readily know your user name.
If you want to be extremely secure, or are extremely forgetful you can use a password management add-on for your browser. Its recommended that you use a password to protect all your stored passwords, and make the password to the management software separate and unique from one your normally use to prevent it from being easily hacked.
Top Password management software are:
Do you have any tips to share to keep your information secure?